Carpenter Bee Identification & Prevention

Carpenter Bees: How Does ATC Treat Them?

a carpenter bee on a flowering tree

Carpenter bees might be important pollinators in the Baltimore area, but these bees can damage wood structures surrounding your home. They nest inside the wood. Though carpenter bees do not eat wood, still they provide structural damage by digging into the surface of the wood.

Frequently Asked Questions About Carpenter Bees

What are carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees have over 500 species and are good pollinators in native plant communities and gardens. They are also important pollinators on some open-faced or shallow flowers. These bees will bore holes in wood for nesting purposes.  Carpenter bees are not as harmful as wasps. Male carpenter bees are harmless and hover around the nest, while female carpenter bees can sting but only do so when provoked.

Latin Name: Xylocopa (large Carpenter Bees)

Ceratina (Small Carpenter Bees)

Order: Hymenoptera

Other Names: Carpenter Bee

What do carpenter bees look like?

There are two kinds of carpenter bees: the large and small carpenter bees. They can be easily determined based on their sizes. The large carpenter bee is about 20 mm or longer. It comes with colors black, greenish-black, metallic blue, or purplish-blue. While small carpenter bees are about 8 mm long. They have a dark color and metallic appearance. The large and small carpenter bees are common on their scant hair in the abdomen, hairy thorax with yellowish color, and their belly is black and shiny. Females do have a stinger, while males do not but with yellow sections on the face instead.

What is the life cycle of carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees are solitary bees. They do not have colonies or hives to protect. In early spring, adult carpenter bees mate. The males die after mating. Females dig in the woods to build their nests where they can lay eggs. Carpenter bees have four stages before they become an adult: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The eggs hatch in a few days and the larvae will be fed on the ball of pollen left by the mother. In a period of seven weeks, the bee reaches adulthood.

What do carpenter bees eat?

Carpenter bees feed on pollen and nectar. They do not eat wood. Female bees place a ball of pollen to provide food for their larvae.

What are the habits of carpenter bees?

Due to their habit of digging holes, they have been coined “carpenter bees” as they burrow the wood for their nest. Carpenter bees choose to nest in unpainted softwoods, dead woods, stems, trees, or roof eaves. The female will use old tunnels, or create new ones, each spring to lay her eggs by digging the wood. Carpenter bees galleries have an entrance hole, the hole is about ½ inch wide just to fit the mother body. The hole continues in a short distance that runs about 4-6 inches. However, the carpenter bees nest is one that attracts the insect-eating woodpeckers which can do more damage to the wood.

How does ATC Pest Control treat carpenter bees?

Once you have carpenter bees, you must treat them or they will return and increase the damage to your exposed wood.

ATC does provide Do-It-Yourself Kits for carpenter bees at a low-level infestation. If this has been going on for years and/or its high up—it’s time to call ATC. We have the equipment to treat 40 feet or higher hives. ATC uses organic dust which kills the female bee and their eggs, inside the wood and prevents any bee from returning to that cell next year. The burrowed holes can then be sealed or not, that’s up to you.

As always carpenter bees are covered with our Annual Protection Program which is a once a year service with protection against all pests all year long. ATC also offers a one-time home pest control service for carpenter bees.

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